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principle-good or evil it may be, but that is not our present point.” We should have thought that “the thousand faults” would have been sufficient to dispel any feeling of pique, and to have justified determined opposition to a measure the badness of which the Saturday Review has again and again proclaimed. But it is not to be expected that writers so spiteful should at the same time be rational. He goes on to say, “In the greater part of his speech, he only shrieked and scolded.” “ Totally regardless of anything but his immediate chance of getting up a prejudice, he hit away right and left, in the very wildness of despair, at every detail of the Bill.” The second article on "The Opposition Leader” begins thus: “Mr. Gladstone progresses, as the popular phrase is; it is a result of the peculiar position he has chosen that he can give himself no lesson. There is something of melancholy truth in the old myth, that one who has abandoned himself to a maligu intelligence-or, to speak with less of decorous periphrasis, has sold himself to the devil-is condemned to work, or to find work for the busy fiend. Morning, noon, and night there is the steady irrepressible presence which always requires the victim to be doing. Repose, deliberation, counsel, thought, choice, are all and for ever prohibited luxuries. Charmed into a troublous circle of restless energy and activity, the only condition of life is never to be quiet or silent.” Such is Mr. Gladstone's present existence.
Mr. Gladstone is said by this temperate writer to stand altogether alone in the House in his unreasoning and obstructive temper. Even Mr. Bright, for whom the "Saturday” is wellknown to cherish no very warm love, is placed in a position of superiority to him. “Below the lowest deep there lies a lower depth,” and below Mr. Bright—who was recently with singular good taste and appropriateness compared to Cataline-is Mr. Gladstone, “whose bearing and demeanour Mr. Bright abstains from adopting, if he does not reject it as factious and needlessly offensive. It is not so much that we fail to follow his criticisms-some at least of them-on the Government measure, as that we deplore the solitary and obstructive attitude which he took on Monday night. It is his manner, even more than his matter, that is so objectionable. He rose palpably with the intention of doing the most disagreeable thing in the most offensive way, and he took an evident pleasure in displaying his bad temper and contempt. He concentrated his spite with the most intelligible italics and underscoring. His whole speech reads like a lady's very offensive and insulting letter, or rather like an epistle which it was once our fortune to receive from a half-crazy, but of course very sincere friend. Commenting in strong terms on something which
he thought frightfully wrong, our amiable correspondent wrote all the strong passages and phrases of his remonstrance in red ink.”
This, then, is the style in which those who assume to represent English gentlemen think it decent and proper to write of a political opponent, an accomplished scholar, a high-minded gentleman, a powerful orator, for no other reason than that, having distinct convictions, he thinks it right to give them expression, and to employ the legitimate influence which he commands to secure their triumph. If even Mr. Bradlaugh, to whose vagaries the “ Saturday” has administered a severe, but well-deserved castigation, had insinuated that Earl Grosvenor was sold to the devil, we can easily conceive the outburst of indignation which such an audacious imputation would have called forth. Yet Mr. Gladstone has only acted as Earl Grosvenor has done, sought to defeat a policy which he believed tu be injurious to the best interests of the country, the only difference being that the one has enforced his views with a force of eloquence to which the other cannot pretend. Amid very severe provocation, he has never been guilty of questioning the motives of his opponents, and though he has mercilessly assailed their positions he has never condescended to assail the men ; and for this, forsooth, he is to be represented by those who cannot grapple with his arguments as under the possession of a "malign spirit." If this be decorous, it is evident at least that gentlemen enjoy a license which men of humbler pretensions must not venture to take. It would be easy to retort, and to find evidences of the power of a malignant fiend in a display of spite, so blind, so reckless, so unreasoning, that the very fury into which it is lashed defeats its own purpose. There may be violent partisans who, in the excitement of the fierce contest which is being waged, may applaud such ebullitions, and perhaps mistake unprincipled audacity for cleverness; but when the passion of the hour has died away, all honourable opponents will deprecate this savage mode of warfare, which is the more inexcusable since the very review which is thus severe on Mr. Gladstone's opposition to the Bill, itself condemns it with a severity equal to his own.
But, after all, it is not the fierceness of the Tory orators or the Tory press of which we complain, so much as the mode in which Mr. Gladstone has been treated by members of his own party. Of Mr. Roebuck we say nothing. He is one of the men whom, as Lord Dundreary would say, “No fellow can understand.” Tetchy and wayward, priding himself on his incorruptibility and lofty independence, it is impossible to predict the course which he will take on any particular question. He has outlived the
strong feelings of his early career, when he appeared in Parliament as the advocate of Canadian rebels, and while professing to be a Liberal of the first water, seems to take a special pleasure in thwarting the hopes of the party to which he nominally belongs. Never has he been more crotchety, more supercilious, more offensive, than during the present session. Sickness mellows some men; but his restored health seems to have been accompanied by an increase of bitterness whose vials he has poured out on the devoted head of poor Mr. Gladstone. It is useless, however, to expect him to be other than he is; and if the spirit of the quondam Radical can find a solace in the Tory cheers which greet the spiteful attacks in which he loves to indulge upon the most hearty and able leader the Liberal party has had for many a day, far be it from us to envy him his gratification. His tirades, at least, injure no one but himself; for the very men who applaud him, attach no real weight to his opinions, and only value his advocacy because it subserves their own party views.
There are other men, however, whom we should have expected to have taken a very different course from that which they have recently pursued. At the beginning of the present campaign it seemed as though Earl Grosvenor half repented of the tactics of last session, and his speech at the first meeting at Mr. Gladstone's indicated a desire to return to friendly relations with the party, and its chosen, we may say its only possible, leader. For a time it seemed as if the Liberal host was to be re-united, and the very anticipation was enough to dismay the Government. But worse counsels have since prevailed; the star of Mr. Disraeli has been in the ascendant, and his lordship has found no better occupation than that of the “candid friend,” ever ready to point out the errors of his associates, and to come to the help of their opponents. It is to him and his allies, not to his own colleagues in the Cabinet, or his steady supporters on the Treasury benches, that Mr. Disraeli owes the triumph, the memory of which has brightened his Easter holidays. Nothing is more necessary, in order to end the present state of disorganization, than that the Liberals should have a clear understanding with the Adullamite section, the “rump" of the old cave, who look up to the noble Earl and his henchman, “my dear Elcho," as their leaders. Some of them, we should think, are already pretty well convinced that this Parliament is the last in which they will have the opportunity of misrepresenting Liberal constituencies. If Mr. Frederick Doulton is allowed again to neutralize the vote of Lambeth, or Mr. Jonathan Pim to use the power given to him by the strenuous efforts of Dublin Liberals to uphold a Tory ministry, the electors have no one but themselves to thank. But those who have not committed themselves so deeply must make their election between the two leaders, and make it speedily if they are to regain the confidence which their conduct has so seriously shaken. At all events, if the Liberal party is to know its own strength, it must cease to reckon among its own members those who, on every critical division, are invariably found in the Tory lobby.
Greatly should we rejoice if the defections from the Liberal ranks had only been found among the Adullamite class. But the now historical meeting in the tea-room included many whose thorough devotion to the cause of Reform cannot be doubted. Their movement was very ill-judged, and, as it has proved, most disastrous in its results. There was a sad want of consideration for their leader, and a strange conception of the loyalty which was due to him, yet we are willing to believe the error of many of them was a want of judgment. The real difficulty of the case lay in the fact that Mr. Gladstone would not declare himself in favour of household suffrage, and that if he had, the majority of his own party would not have sustained him. Hence some, deceived by the notion that the principle of the Government measure was household suffrage, and indulging the vain hope that the restrictions with which the concession is accompanied may be swept away, were indisposed to take a step which might be fatal to the Bill. They should have had a clearer conception of the real significance of the political crisis : if they were determined to move they should have taken action earlier, and so have saved their leader the mortification of having to beat a retreat in the presence of his enemy; but there are many of them whom we cannot suspect of deliberate treachery. Unfortunately, their weakness was just as mischievous in its consequence as actual treason, and there are some of them who will not find it easy to satisfy their constituencies. Sir Francis Crossley would do well to remember how the electors of the West Riding dealt with Sir John Ramsden, despite his territorial position, and his extensive aristocratic connections. They chose Sir Francis because of their faith in his sturdy Liberalism, and are not likely to regard with any great favour the attitude he has taken on two or three recent occasions. Mr. Torrens may rest assured that the electors of Finsbury have very little sympathy with that straightforward Liberalism, which, turning neither to the right hand nor to the left, leads a man into the very position which Mr. Disraeli would have him occupy. These gentlemen and their friends may plead that the policy of Mr. Coleridge's instructions was very doubtful, and that had the Government been defeated and gone to the country, the Liberals would have been placed
in the disadvantageous position of appearing to advocate a more restricted franchise than their Tory rivals. It was for this, undoubtedly, that Mr. Disraeli mancuvred; but, however successful such tricks may be in the House of Commons, they would have availed very little with the country. Had a dissolution taken place, the election would really have turned upon the relative claims of Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Disraeli; and in our judgment the issue would not have been for a moment doubtful. Unhappily, either this visionary fear, or a regard to their own fancied consistency, or a notion that by some extraordinary process they could convert the Bill into a measure for household suffrage, influenced these forty-eight; and they set an example of revolt against the authority of their leader, which has been only too widely and too successfully imitated. Many of them were found in their right place in the great division; but the fatal infection of disloyalty had spread, some simple ones had been hoodwinked, the timid ones had been alarmed by the threat of dissolution, all sorts of tricks had been employed, and the result was the most severe defeat which Liberalism has sustained for many years.
We do not care here to analyze the division-lists, but we must express our utter amazement that any Liberal was found in opposition to Mr. Gladstone. There are three aspects in which the vote may be regarded, and in whichever of them it was viewed, the duty of a true Reformer was clear. Whether it was accepted simply as a decision upon the one question raised, as to the personal payment of rates, or as an adjudication on the respective merits of the rival schemes, or as a vote of confie dence in the men: in neither case ought there to have been any hesitation. As to those who voted under the belief that Mr. Disraeli would afterwards abandon his restrictions, and who, therefore, supported one of the most invidious of them, we can only pity their simplicity. Liberals they may profess to be, but Liberals who hear their leader taunted as he was by Mr. Gathorne Hardy and Mr. Disraeli, and then, forgetful of all his claims upon their fidelity, follow these gentlemen into the lobby, must be made of strange stuff. For ourselves, “we'd rather be a dog and bay the moon, than such a Roman." Mr. Gladstone may well have felt a momentary despondency, but we trust that he will listen rather to the promptings of high patriotism than to those mortified feelings which he might reasonably cherish. Worried, baited, maligned as he is, we trust that he will yet manfully hold his ground, refuse to listen to the counsels of timid friends, and pursue that unselfish and patriotic course, which, if misunderstood for the present, will ultimately earn for him the lasting gratitude of the nation. But if the